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Published: Friday, 8/13/2004

Teacher, jewelry store owner wrote books on local history

JACKSON, Mich. - Marjorie Loraine Blanks, 81, a retired teacher and a co-owner of the former Blanks' Jewelry Store in Hudson who wrote books about local history, died of kidney failure Wednesday in Country Side Care Facility here.

"She was a strong-willed, independent thinker," her son, Gilbert Blanks, said.

He went on to say that his mother - while legally blind - used longhand to write two books over the past five years. She had them typed and then published them herself.

One book was about a one-room schoolhouse in Hillsdale County's Wheatland Township. The other told the history of the Hillsdale County fair, Mr. Blanks said.

Mrs. Blanks, a Hudson, Mich., native, graduated from Addison High School in Addison, Mich., in 1941 and decided to continue her education. She got her bachelor's degree in 1945 and her master's in 1958, both from Michigan State University in home economics, which she taught to high school students in Lenawee, Jackson, and Hillsdale counties in the 1950s and 1960s.

In the early 1970s, she joined her husband of 44 years, Charles H. Banks, in owning and operating the eponymous jewelry store in Hudson, which she did until 1982, when she retired.

In retirement, Mrs. Blanks enjoyed genealogy research, gardening, and cooking.

Mrs. Blanks was a member of the Sarah Treat Prudden Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Jackson, Wheatland Garden Club, and Arbor Grove Congregational Church in Jackson. She was a former member of the Wheatland Township Congregational Church.

Surviving are her husband, Charles H. Blanks; sons, Douglas Cunningham, G. Thomas Cunningham, and Gilbert Blanks; daughter, Sara Hazen; four grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

Services will be at 11 a.m. tomorrow in the Brown-Van Hemert Funeral Home, Hudson, where the body will be after 3 p.m. today.

The family suggests tributes to the American Kidney Association.

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